Introducing the Villanova Polish American Cultural Society



Ryan Wolfe Staff Reporter

One of the newer clubs on campus is the Villanova Polish American Cultural Society, or VPACS. The club, as the name implies, was formed to celebrate and inform about the culture of the Polish people at Villanova University. VPACS held its first event of the year, a Polish Wigilia, on January 24, coordinated by Basia Fiedorowicz and Mateusz Ziarnik, two Villanova undergraduate students. The Wigilia, which translates to Vigil, is commonly celebrated on Christmas Eve in Poland as a feast, but Christmas is commonly celebrated until early February in Polish culture. During a Wigilia, there are typically 12 dishes served, one dish symbolizing each of Jesus’ apostles, as well as hay on the tables representing being in the manger with Jesus on the day of his birth. 

At the VPACS’ Wigilia, which over 50 students and 15 faculty members attended, the group presented a video celebrating 100 years of Polish independence from Germany, Austria, and the Russian empires after the end of World War I. The video described the struggles that the Polish people have faced in the fight for their own independence from opposing powers. After the video, attendees broke bread with one another before the feast, which Ziarnik said, “… symbolizes the communion we all have with one another.”

During the bread breaking ceremony, attendees were encouraged to go around the room and wished each other well in the coming year. The attendees then had their Polish feast with foods such as pierogi and kielbasa, coming from Golden Eagle, a restaurant in Garfield, NJ, with baked goods such as chruszczki and makoweic coming from Banas Bakery, a Polish bakery in New Jersey, and Café Riviera, a café in New York City. 

After the meal, attendees were invited to sing carols with one another, even some in Polish, with guitar player David Fink. 

“We think that the event was a success for the club, and we hope to plan club events every month,” club member Mateusz Ziarnik said. “In the future, we’d really like to host nights to learn how to make Polish food, and we could even go on several trips to prominent Polish communities.” The Villanova Polish American Cultural Society (VPACS) is open to new members and meets biweekly Thursday in 217 Tolentine Hall at 9:15 p.m.